In his new book The Human City, Joel Kotkin tries to use NIMBYism as an argument against urbanism. He cites numerous examples of NIMBYism in wealthy city neighborhoods, and suggests that these examples rebut “the largely unsupported notion that ever more people want to move ‘back to the city’.” This argument is nonsense for two reasons.
First, the NIMBYs themselves clearly want city life and a certain level of density–otherwise they would have moved to suburbia. In cities like Los Angeles and New York, a wide range of housing choices exist for those who can afford them.
Second, the fact that some people want to prohibit new housing does not show that there is no demand for new housing. To draw an analogy: the War on Drugs prohibits many drugs. Does that mean that there is no demand for drugs? Of course not. If anything, it proves that there is lots of demand for drugs; otherwise government would not bother to prohibit it.
For my more in-depth review of The Human City, read: Joel Kotkin’s New Book Lays Out His Sprawling Vision For America